Boy Scout Camp Staffer Faces Felony Charges
19-year-old Boy Scout camp staffer Coleman R. Leonard, of Cary, Illinois, faces several felony charges after multiple underage staffers at Camp Napowan have accused him of sexual assault. Coleman was charged in Waushara County Circuit Court with repeated sexual assault of a child, two counts of child enticement, fourth-degree sexual assault, sexual assault of a child under 16 and exposing a child to harmful material.
According to police, the alleged assaults took place while Leonard was working as office manager at Camp Napowan in Mount Morris. In the court documents, there are three boys who say they had illicit sexual contact with Leonard when they were between 14 and 15 years old. The alleged encounters took place in the summers of 2017 and 2018.
Police say that in two incidents, a victim told Leonard “no”, but Leonard continued to engage in sexual contact. All encounters are alleged to have taken place in or near Leonard’s personal cabin. Leonard had worked at Camp Napowan since at least summer 2015.
Is Sexual Abuse A Common Problem In Boy Scouts?
Because Boy Scouts of America is a volunteer organization that works with children, there is always the risk that sexual predators will sign up to volunteer in an effort to abuse their power. Boy Scouts of America has historically had problems with child sexual abuse, including nearly 2,000 reported cases of abuse prior to 1994. In 2010, a jury ordered the Scouts to pay $18.5 million to a former Scout who was sexually abused in the 1980s. Between 1986 and 1991, BSA and local councils agreed to pay over $15 million in damages for sexual abuse lawsuits. The true totals are likely much higher, as many settlements are paid with an agreement to keep the payments secret.
Legal Recourse For Victims of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse victims lawyer Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com offers some legal commentary on legal recourse for families of sexual abuse victims:
If you have a child who has been abused as a camper or staff member at a Boy Scouts of America camp, you may be curious about your legal options. Reporting the suspect to the police is a top priority, but the families of sexual abuse victims should also consider how the civil court system can help them. If an organization working with children fails to prevent sexual abuse because of negligence, that organization can be held liable for damages if the victim (or their family) decides to file a lawsuit.
Each case of sexual abuse is unique, so families will need to speak with an experienced victims rights lawyer in order to gain a full understanding of their legal options.
Location of Napowan Scout Camp